About 200 people attended Neyer Properties’ second annual Earth Day event, “Earth Day 2.0: Reduce. Reuse. Renew” held at Keystone Parke in Cincinnati.
The April 22, half-day educational event included two panels on the basics of building and living green, as well as a sneak-peek tour of the new American Red Cross Regional Headquarters and Disaster Operations Center. Giveaways, raffles, and a networking session were also held.
Guest speakers included Steve Armsey, owner of Resurgence Group, who spoke on reclaiming brownfields in urban/suburban areas. He told the audience that public/private partnerships are essential to reclaim brownfields successfully.
KZF Design spokespeople Greg Lewis and Boyd Johnson described how the architectural firm purchased the 1915 U.S. Shoe Machinery Company building at Seventh and Broadway downtown and renovated it to include 36,000 square feet of architectural office space that utilizes daylighting, solar access, lighting controls and water-saving fixtures.
Stating that “old is the new green,” they stressed that choosing a location that was affordable, accessible to mass transit and visible to potential clients and stakeholders were keys to site selection.
The building is registering for LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
Jeremy Chapman, Melink Corporation business development manager for the Milford company, said government is driving renewable energy growth, which is growing at a rate of 10 percent per year in Ohio. He said with state and federal subsidies and “feed in” payments from utilities, the payback for commercial investors in solar energy plants is about three years.
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, chairman of the Solid Waste District Policy Committee, discussed the county’s Go Green Challenge, a partnership between the county and businesses to reduce the county’s carbon footprint through recycling, reducing material use, and turning parking lots into detention ponds through the use of permeable materials. He said there are great opportunities for businesses to get involved in from policy and economic development perspectives.
Hamilton County’s mission is to become a net-zero waste-producing community through its recycling efforts.
Jerry Janszen, director for Building Value, a nonprofit begun by Easter Seals Work Resource Center in 2004, spoke on deconstructing buildings and recycling building materials, which are then sold in the Building Value retail store and reused in other construction projects.
Building Value teaches people with disabilities construction skills so they can obtain retail and construction jobs.
He said the organization partnered with A Cleaner Tomorrow, Recycling, Inc. and Rumpke Recycling to help take down 12 houses in Cincinnati, learning more from each experience. They can salvage up to 82 percent of a structure. Concrete taken out is sent to ACT Recycling for gravel, and wood waste is sent to Rumpke Recycling for mulch.
Kofi Nevis and Dennis Harsely spoke on Working in Neighborhood’s (WIN) programs to help people afford, finance, and buy a home, as well as avoid foreclosure. The South Cumminsville nonprofit also offers classes on ways to save home energy.
American Red Cross and emersion DESIGN employees conducted preview tours of the American Red Cross Regional Headquarters and Disaster Operations Center, which is expected to open in late June. Neyer Properties is the developer for the project, which is being built to LEED Gold standards. The Red Cross building is adjacent to Keystone Parke, within walking distance.
“The Red Cross tour showcased its commitment to sustainability, dedication to the community it serves and partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District, which provided a grant for the bioswale and vegetated roof,” said Chad Edwards, architect, LEED AP and principal at emersion DESIGN. “The entire Earth Day event was a coordinated example of how we can be creative and responsible in incorporating sustainable building practices into designing and building for today.”
Neyer Properties began researching green building about five years ago, said Dan Neyer, president of Neyer Properties, which organized the events. “Our Keystone Parke building uses 30 percent less energy than other traditionally-built buildings of its size,” he said. “Green building is the right thing to do. It’s not debatable and it benefits everyone.”
Neyer Properties has committed to making its existing office buildings and all future buildings LEED-certified.
Its Keystone Parke headquarters is the tri-state’s first green office campus. It has achieved LEED Silver for its exterior core and shell, and LEED Gold for its commercial interior space.
Vendors at the Earth Day event included: Dovetail Solar and Wind, Greener Stock, Four Seasons Environmental, Green Energy Ohio, GreenSource Cincinnati, emersion DESIGN and the USGBC.
Neyer Properties is a full-service commercial real estate developer specializing in sustainable development, construction management, investment, and redevelopment.
The firm celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and invites friends and stakeholders to visit its newly-designed Web site at www.neyer1.com.
To connect with Neyer Properties and its green building initiatives, go to facebook.com/neyerproperties and neyerproperties.blogspot.com. Breaking news for Neyer Properties is available at twitter.com/neyerproperties. Join the sustainable building community at Facebook’s Green Building Cincinnati group.